T’is the winter of our discontent (Part B)…
On another sad note, I must comment on the tragedy that is unfolding in our justice, perhaps even governmental, system all due to a good idea that has crumbled because of a real lack of focus, maybe even strategic visioning…
I refer to the truckers’ Freedom Convoy. It was a good idea. We have known since the mid-nineties that there was a looming employment crisis in the trucking industry. Personally I was thwarted from starting a truck-drivers training school at MTI (an Aboriginal Independent School) when we could not get federal support to have the occupation declared a vital economic skill set. Then early in this millennium when again the need was identified, we couldn’t get training dollars to support young Aboriginal adults who wanted to learn the trade (we were told that truck-driving didn’t need special skills). This time we had more support from the trucking industry but it didn’t seem to matter either to the federal or provincial governments of the day.
I say all this because I knew as soon as they changed the vaccine rules at the border that this country was in trouble. Many more U.S.A. truckers are unvaccinated than Canadians and so I thought that there would be a significant reduction in the number of rigs coming into Canada and this would not only hurt the manufacturing sector but also the food supply chain – especially in winter months. But, I also was concerned that the ten percent of Canadian truckers who were unvaccinated would be missed from the system – with a shortfall of over 20,000 drivers already, an additional 15,000 could be quite catastrophic.
I understood where the truckers were coming from and I felt that the convoy would bring national attention to the problem of a deficit in the number of truck drivers. That was accomplished actually before the convoy ever arrived in Ottawa. The news media (in spite of their inherent left-of-centre bias) did a reasonable job bringing the challenges to the public’s attention. I felt there was an opportunity to actually change the narrative – if nothing else, get truck-driving approved as a trade with skill sets worthy of training support.
But unfortunately the organizers of the activity did not have a grand strategic vision; they didn’t even have a plan for what to do if they achieved any success at all. While I feel a bit of sympathy for those who don’t like horns blaring and diesels idling, and I am concerned about businesses being negatively impacted by blockades (I wasn’t happy about the rail blockades by Aboriginal supporters a couple of years back but that is another story and it was handled much differently by the media then), I am really annoyed that the convoy people have no useful idea of where to go from here.
There has been no attention drawn to the need for more drivers.
There has been no attention drawn to the importance of truck-driving as a skilled trade that should be promoted and supported in our training programs.
There has been no attention drawn to the impacts of carbon taxes on the trucking industry and thus on our cost-of-living.
All the real issues that could have been home-run hitters have been left on the bench and instead the convoy is now a feeble pinch-hitter losing public support; the convoy has fragmented and the moment has been lost. It shows me once again that simply having a great idea without a strategic vision and thoughtful plan is no recipe for success.
Truly this is becoming our winter of our discontent…